Uncertainty Ahead for Patterson
CF Corey Patterson was given a start off on Friday after hitting just .167 in his previous 10 games, and after Wrigley Field fans began booing him hard again on Wednesday.
Patterson was demoted to Triple-A Iowa on July 7 to work on his swing, but he came back on Aug. 9 and started out hitting well. He is now in a tailspin.
"It's going to be a very interesting and important offseason for Corey," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "I think we all thought that he was headed toward All-Star potential in 2003 before he got hurt (knee). He took a step backward this year in a season we hoped he would take a big step forward. He still has talent and he has aptitude, and I think he's capable of being a really good ballplayer.
"He's going to have to understand ways to continue to improve," Hendry added. "It's awful tough to send a guy to Iowa for a couple of weeks and bring him back and think you're going have a guy step in and hit .450 the rest of the year. I think it will be important with how he handles it mentally and how he prepares himself."
Baker Says He Plans on Sticking Around
Manager Dusty Baker takes a pounding from media members and fans, and it's been reported he's unhappy in Chicago.
But, he said he plans on honoring the fourth year of a four-year, $14 million deal and is even eying to hang onto the job after that.
Baker was asked if he wants to retire in a Cubs uniform on Wednesday.
"Possibly," he said. "It depends on if we achieve our goal or not. That's (finishing my career) a long time off to me. I still look at managing another six or seven years. Until that time, there are some things I need and want to accomplish."
Baker said he is not interested in leaving because of the constant criticism he has faced the last two seasons after leading the team within a game of a World Series berth in 2003.
Aramis Ramirez, who has been diagnosed with a moderate-to-severe strain in his left quadriceps muscle, was placed on the disabled list on Friday and hopes it will not be a season-ending injury. Ramirez will be re-evaluated in the next two weeks.
Nomar Garciaparra volunteered to play third base in the wake of Aramis Ramirez's quadriceps injury and played there on Friday. Garciaparra said he had not played third base since he was in high school.
Ronny Cedeno was promoted from Triple-A Iowa on Friday to take the roster spot of Ramirez.
Michael Barrett became the cleanup hitter, at least temporarily, in the wake of the injury to Ramirez.
Mark Prior admitted he was tired in the seventh inning of Wednesday's game against Atlanta. He threw six scoreless innings but gave up three runs in the seventh and left the game after throwing 131 pitches -- the most he's thrown in a game since 2003. But a combination of three infield hits and Prior's throwing error helped lead to the three runs.
BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Starting infielders who have been on the disabled list this year -- SS Nomar Garciaparra, 2B Todd Walker and now 3B Aramis Ramirez. Only 1B Derrek Lee has been spared from the DL.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Everyone on the team is doing everything they can." --Garciaparra, who agreed to play third base while Ramirez is out with a quadriceps injury.